Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No Experience Necessary

Our plan for our mini vacation had remained simple from the beginning: get where we're going and wing it once we're there. That's how Ken and I had always traveled.
We'd drive or fly to our destination, throw all the junkola we brought in our room for the night and go grab a drink. Like many of the people close to us, we found extended solice in finding a local pub and getting the dirt on where to go or what not to do from a talkative local bartender and the patrons that were bellied up to the bar with us just a bit earlier than Kosher.

But this past trip was different: there was a 2 1/2-year-old with us who'd never been in our trucks for longer than 167 minutes at a time. WE had never traveled with a 2 1/2-year-old for longer than 167 minutes at a time either. There was no stopping for mid day cocktail to relieve crankiness. Oh no, just electronic games and too many viewings of Spaceballs (Vinnie's new favorite movie) on our irritatingly too quiet laptop.

And after much surprising success on our travels to not one but two remote locations in Ohio, in two days, we were finally on our third day of our adventure or "kay-cation" as my daughter would call it! The drive from Northern Ohio to Pittsburgh did not go unscathed and after three hours and fourteen minutes of turnpike time -- and tears -- and rotten sarcasm -- and corresponding forced kisses and apologies -- we had made it to the place we had been sooo waiting for.
We wound through the city as if it were the oasis we had been longing for before we pulled in front of our hotel. Silently, we stewed with the challenges of the drive and the promise of what was to come here at our new and final destination before heading home. You could feel the anticipation but the crankfest chose to linger in all of us. We ignored it.

We got up to our room to be surprised with a corner room over looking the Heinz field, the Phils playing the Pirates at PNC Park, 11 colorful bridges, the river, gleaming boats, architecture for days, drunks walking happily, decked out bikers and all the people that walked gingerly around them. And after four minutes, we nearly ignored the view too, hellbent on going 'out.'

'Out' was walking in thousands of people from the arts festival and game that had been going on in a thousand degrees with a thousand bad manners being displayed in every direction. Do dudes who spend 45 minutes gelling their hair and cologning-up really think their gonna pick up chicks when they hock loogies in public near the feet of grandmothers and toddlers? Is wedgie-picking really socially acceptable these days? What about profuse sweating? Am I to be subject to a wipe down of someone else's slimy pale skin after they walked three blocks and sweated out enough liquid to feed a remote village? Shouldn't they have the decency to walk in the street and away from those they have the potential to slime? And F, I was getting blisters from flip flops I bought on clearance.

Although Ken and I tried, our day in Pittsburgh was beginning to crumble fast and we went back to our room to regroup before things between us got any dicer than the heat and chaos had already made it.

When we got back in the room, I put my daughter in the tub where she can always find happiness and Ken and I stared out our respective windows. The more we looked the happier we got. The view from afar in our gorgeous room was much more satisfying. Being together, just the three of us was all we really needed. We had been walking outside with everybody searching for a place to go when all along we had it in front of us for us to see.

I got in the tub with my kid and we watched Sesame Street in the bathroom while Ken (donned in the brown retro robe the hotel had supplied in our closet) took photos of the vista outside our room. We made a drink and ordered room service and all was right with the world again.

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